How territoriality and sociality influence the habitat selection and
movement of a large carnivore
1. While territoriality is one of the key mechanisms influencing
carnivore space use, most studies quantify resource selection and
movement in the absence of conspecific influence or territorial
structure without inference on resource selection processes. 2. Our
analysis incorporated intra-specific competition in a resource selection
framework, via territorial data of conspecifics, to investigate
mechanisms of territoriality and to better understand the role of
neighboring packs on African wild dog habitat selection. We fit
integrated step selection functions to 3-hour GPS data from 12 collared
wild dog packs in the Okavango Delta, and estimated selection
coefficients using a conditional Poisson likelihood with random effects.
3. Packs selected for the outline of their neighbors’ 30-day boundary
(defined as their 90% kernel density estimate), and for the outline of
their own 90-day core (defined as their 50% kernel density estimate).
Neighbors’ 30-day boundary had a greater influence on resource selection
than any habitat feature. Habitat selection differed when they were
within versus beyond their neighbors’ 30-day boundary. 4. Pack size,
pack age, pup presence, and seasonality all mediated how packs responded
to neighbors, and seasonal dynamics altered the strength of residency.
While newly-formed packs and packs with pups avoided their neighbors’
boundary, older packs and those without pups selected for it. Packs also
selected for the boundary of larger neighboring packs more strongly than
that of smaller ones. 5. Social structure within packs has implications
for how they interact with conspecifics, and therefore how they are
distributed across the landscape. Future research should continue to
investigate how territorial processes are mediated by social dynamics
and, in turn, how territorial structure mediates resource selection and
movement. These results could inform the development of a human-wildlife
conflict (HWC) mitigation tool by co-opting the mechanisms of
conspecific interactions to manage space use of endangered carnivores.